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Monday, November 1, 2010

A Wine Lover's Weekly Guide To $10 Wines - A Chardonnay From Lazio, Italy

Trevi nel Lazio - BorgoImage by gengish via FlickrBy: Levi Reiss
This kosher Chardonnay comes from the Lazio region of central Italy. Lazio, which also goes by the name of Latium, is home to Rome. It is often said that Latium's wines tend to be mediocre because Rome is a huge market and Romans, or perhaps the millions of tourists, will drink anything. Such sweeping statements may be dead wrong. I'm not necessarily a fan of Chardonnay, but I tend to prefer it to Latium's native white varieties, Malvasia and Trebbiano. Unless I'm forgetting something, this is my first Italian Chardonnay and one of my first wines from Lazio.

Before reviewing this wine, let me state a few things about the bottler, Cantina Sant' Andrea. This family business started on Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean Sea between mainland Sicily and Tunisia about 150 years ago. Later the vineyards were relocated to Tunisia where they were expropriated in 1964. So the family moved to the Pontine, marshland that was reclaimed during the time of BM, Benito Mussolini.
OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review have been purchased at the full retail price.
Wine Reviewed Chardonnay Lazio IGT 2008 12.0% alcohol about $10
There were no marketing materials, and the label said nothing about the wine. I even looked for additional reviews on the Internet after finishing my tests but came up with nothing.
At the first sips the wine was lemony but short. Its first pairing was with smoked rainbow trout filet (alas, not as good as it may sound) and a grated red cabbage salad. The wine tasted of apples and its acidity did well with the fish's grease. With the red cabbage, the Chardonnay intensified; it was refreshing but light. There were two desserts. The fresh pineapple just overpowered the wine. But with oversweet chocolate peanut butter candy the wine was lemony and fairly long.
The next meal involved a boxed eggplant parmigiana slathered with grated Parmesan cheese. Now the Chardonnay presented great acidity; it meshed with the tomatoes. It was lemony with nice length. The dessert of a frozen chocolate pie virtually muted the wine.
My final meal was composed of an omelet garnished with fresh tomatoes. The wine showed very pleasant acidity with a lemon taste and good length. Interestingly enough the fresh tomato rendered the wine rounder. With a side of grilled artichoke dip that tasted more of mayonnaise than of the grill, the wine was perky.
I finished the tastings (but not the bottle) with two local cheeses. When paired with a marbled cheddar it came up round with light, lemony acidity. And with provolone the wine tasted of green apples.
Final verdict. I saw no reason to finish the bottle. It was OK, but not really that good. Prejudices die hard. I am not prejudiced against kosher wines; many of them are fairly good. But I am rather prejudiced against Lazio wines. While I am always ready to taste others, I have yet to encounter a fine one.


Author Resource:-> Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but really prefers fine Italian or other wine, with good food and company. He loves teaching computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website features a weekly review of $10 wines and new sections writing about and tasting organic and kosher wines. His Italian travel website is .

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